FROM JOSE: Inbound U.S. Travelers With Visas: Proceed CAREFULLY

At the time I am writing this, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has “stayed” – which means the order is frozen and not permitted to be enforced — President Trump’s executive order barring the U.S. entry of nationals of several primarily Muslim nations.   Trump’s Attorney General will be filing a brief with the court today in support of the ban, at which point the several U.S. states which initiated the legal challenge will respond.  This will all happen very quickly and I believe that we will have a temporary resolution in the coming days.  This so-called “interim ruling” will set things straight for now, but it is almost certain that the matter will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, months or years from now.

Given the sensitivity of the situation, I have been speaking to a LOT of attorneys (including many veteran AILA members attending the South Florida AILA annual immigration law conference last week) and reading all I can and here is my take on the collective advice from the most informed U.S. immigration attorneys and migration agencies in the U.S.

  • Persons with valid visas or U.S. residency who are from these nations as well as refugees already approved and processed through the pipeline should enter the U.S. as soon as possible given the uncertainty of the time window available before the stay is changed.
  • Be prepared for a LOT of questions at the airport and a substantial delay in entering the U.S. if you are from these seven nations, even if your visa/green card is in order.  President Trump’s angry tweets and other White House comments suggest that the Department of Homeland Security will be under pressure to do the “extreme vetting” for nationals of those nations, irrespective of the stay.

The New York Times today had a good article on this subject today and the best takeaway is the following quote:

“We are encouraging people to come in as soon as possible,” said Mary McCarthy, executive director of the National Immigrant Justice Center, a Chicago-based organization that provides legal services and advocacy to immigrants. “If you need to be back in this country, you should do it now.”

Be careful, guys, and rest assured that the America justice system is alive and well, despite the chaos we are all witnessing!